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Summary

The expression of an increasing number of genes of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic origin has been shown to be regulated at the translational level by programmed (sequence-specific) ribosomal frame-shifting. Among these are the bacterial insertion sequences IS1 and two members of the widely distributed IS3-family, IS150 and IS911. Frameshifting provides a means of specifying several proteins with different functions using a minimum of genetic information. In this review, we survey present understanding of the way in which frameshifting is integrated into the overall control of transposition activity in these elements.